So I’ve had my iPhone 4 (not even a 4S, just a 4) for probably 4 years now, pretty happy with it even though I couldn’t get iOS8 and had noticed it slowing down in recent months, but it’s served me well.
For a few weeks prior when I was in a phone conversation with someone they’d say “you’re so quiet, I can hardly hear you”, so I’d switch to speaker phone and all was good. But it turns out this was the microphone dying and finally the week before last it gave up.
I’m sure you’ve heard these stories of someone taking their flooded, smashed, generally broken iPhones to the Apple Store and getting a brand new one for free, so thought I’d give it a try. It didn’t work! I found getting a Genius appointment tedious and had to do it twice due to an initial miscommunication of the day. The Apple “Genuis” told me that it was definitely a hardware problem and in the 4 the microphone is soldered to the main board, so long and short of it “it’s dead”, no free iPhone offered to me though 🙁 I could get a new (would it really be new) 4 for $180, and even the Genius remarked “you probably wouldn’t want to do that as you don’t get any iOS updates anymore”, go on a plan, the Genius’s preferred option, although it’s easy for him to want me locked into a 2 year contract paying an extra $30/month to get the same data as I’m getting now on my old old Telstra plan, or buy a new phone from the shop, but probably not even getting $100 for my trade in 4.
I wasn’t happy, I declined all three options and left, disappointed not least that Apple wasn’t as amazing at customer service as I thought.
As a side note, I’d never been into an Apple store before (I’m no fan boi, but have always regarded their products as well engineered and their software on the devices themselves (don’t get me started on iTunes on Windows) as perfectly adequate), so the whole store thing was an eye opener, man they get some people through that place, virtually every square metre of the Robina store had a customer in it and almost as many staff, they must be making a few bob 😉
So now I had an iPhone that I couldn’t really call anyone on, so I had to make a difficult decision, spend upwards of $800 on an iPhone 6 – which I really wanted to do but knew that my wife would NOT have been impressed OR go over to the dark side and buy an Android phone!
As a developer I guess I should support the “new kids on the block” of course which aren’t that new any more and have more market share than Apple these days, but to be honest I’ve just never really liked the whole “every phone’s operating system is slightly different”, “manufactures pepper their version of Android with different “bloatware””, “you can’t get OS upgrades if you’ve got this model on this network”, “some apps won’t work on some models”, “apps from the Google Play store having security risks”, etc, it just feels like Linux vs. Windows, on Windows everything just works, on Linux this works on that distribution and that works on that distribution, it just feels amateurish. And I’ve never been impressed with the hardware, the Galaxy range has always felt plasticy and just not a nice as iPhones.
In preparation for disappointment at the Apple store (I’m a pessimist at heart) I’d started to research a likely “budget” replacement, and when you mention “budget” you can’t really look at iPhones, so I’d been researching Nokia Lumia 530 (my wife had just replaced her 520 that had a smashed screen (they wanted $100 to replace at the local shop where it only cost me $69 to get my 4’s screen replaced previously) with a $40 Telstra locked 530) as I’d set it up for my wife and didn’t hate it and at $40 that definitely ticks the “budget” box, but I doubted there’d be the range of apps I need to go about everyday business stuff so I started looking at Androids.
I get the OzBargain deal email every morning and saw the Motorola Moto G 2nd generation was on sale at Disk Smiths for $249, so I started to do some research into it, and it soon became apparent that this could be the phone I needed. As it happens I have a UK SIM that I occasionally get calls and messages on and so the fact that the G2 was a dual SIM piqued my attention initially and then I started to read lots and lots of good reviews about them, it’s only 3G which seemed to be the main gripe, but so was my iPhone 4 and internet speed on the Telstra network had never been an issue. Coupled with the fact that the sale ended on the same day of my “Genuis” appointment meant that I ended up walking out of the Apple Store and straight into Dick Smiths to get the G2.
So I’ve been using it for over a week now and I have to say – I LIKE IT! I wasn’t a fan of the phablet phones and with a 5 inch screen this is more phablet than I thought I’d like, but the bigger screen real estate really helps when reading and using websites that aren’t mobile friendly and in fact I’ve even used phpMyAdmin on our live web server via it, something I would’ve never considered on the iPhone 4 simply due to the size of the screen.
It’s quick, certainly compared to my iPhone 4 and has all of the productivity apps that I need and as some of them are from Google they just seem easier to set up on the G2. Occasionally I find that an app will hang, but I just kill it and start again. Occasionally the keyboard will disappear while typing, so again I just kill the app and start again. The dual SIM thing works as expected, you get a call on one SIM, you can answer it, you get a call on the other SIM, you can answer it. Each time you make a call or send a text you can choose which SIM to use, and save that preference, plus there is the ability to easily change that preference. Call quality (certainly from my end) is excellent. Data speeds are the same as on the 4, although with the apps loading faster anyway everything just feels faster.
Would like to get the Lollipop (I do think these names are silly) OS upgrade as I do miss the lock screen notifications – something I find difficult to believe hasn’t been available on Android!
I like the message light that appears to stay on longer the more alerts that are waiting – although I’m not too sure about that yet, so you don’t have to keep turning it on to see if there are any new alerts (emails, messages, calls, etc).
I am stuck in iMessage purgatory at the moment due to the prefered Apple solution to get out of it not working, so basically anyone who texts me via an iPhone will not get a response because it’s picked up by one of the many other devices registered against my iTunes account and not sent as a text to my phone. I still need to try the secondary method advised by Apple but really the preferred method should just work in my opinion.
One thing that needs to be made MUCH easier is transferring data across platforms, contacts, photos, messages, email settings and apps, not as bad moving from iOS to Android but a pain moving from iOS to Windows phone and even Windows phone to Windows phone! Ideally a universal cloud storage solution would be preferable – maybe a business idea! I don’t really use any media on my phone and so don’t know about any hassle of moving music or video across platforms but I’d image that’d be pretty simple.
I’m not sure about battery life as yet as I’ve been using it a lot more than my iPhone during the day simply because it’s more pleasant to browse with and so at the moment the battery rarely lasts the day.
I travel fairly often and until know I used to take my Google Asus Nexus 7 (I think that’s what it’s called) (I did go Android a while ago with that) to watch the Virgin Entertainment content on the plane, but I think with the G2’s 5 inch screen I’ll probably leave the Nexus at home next time = lighter bag 🙂
So, do I miss my iPhone? I can honestly say to this point I don’t, so maybe it’s time everyone gave Android (at least in the form of the Moto G2) a go to see what you could be missing!